Aquarena Center: The Heritage and Restoration of a Unique Aquatic Resource
In 2004 the area historically known as Aquarena, was placed under the direction of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University-San Marcos. The area surrounding the center, where the San Marcos Springs emerge from the Edwards Aquifer to fill Spring Lake and form the San Marcos River, is a portal into Texas history, geography and ecology. Archaeological research indicates that the area surrounding the springs has been inhabited for some 12,000 years.
Historic Glass-bottom Boat
tours allow visitors of all ages to view the unique ecosystem found in and around Spring Lake.
The heart of the site is Spring Lake, which runs clear above the approximately 200 springs that lie below and provides a stable environment for eight federally listed endangered or threatened species: the San Marcos salamander, the Texas blind salamander, the fountain darter, the San Marcos Gambusia, the Comal Springs riffle beetle, Comal Springs dyopid beetle, Peck's cave amphipod, and the threatened San Marcos salamander.
| || |
The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University-San Marcos
is ideally located for its mission of studying and safeguarding river systems and monitoring crucial issues concerning water resources. Headquartered at Spring Lake Hall (formerly the Aquarena Hotel), the Meadows Center overlooks the San Marcos Springs and Spring Lake, the headwaters of the crystal clear San Marcos River, which winds its way through the university campus. The Center is dedicated to studying, preserving and interpreting the remarkable aquatic system that surrounds it as it extends that attention and concern to freshwater systems across the state, the nation and the world. Given that the Texas State University campus is only 30 miles southwest of the State Capitol building, this location also affords the Center considerable access to the many policymakers concerned with finding solutions to real-world water issues.
The Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program, also known as the Rivers & Trails Program or RTCA, is the community assistance arm of the National Park Service. RTCA staff provide technical assistance to community groups and local, State, and federal government agencies so they can conserve rivers, preserve open space, and develop trails and greenways. The RTCA program implements the natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation mission of the National Park Service in communities across America.